What Solitary Confinement Does to the Brain

What Solitary Confinement Does to the Brain.

This article is necessary for librarians, educators, cases workers, and officers to read as we discuss the best services for those incarcerated, especially those in solitary confinement (often called segregation).

While at the book club I facilitate inside of a prison, some of the men stated that it was only in segregation did they read certain books, especially book series where you could spend an longer time with a set of characters and an on going plot.

We must prepare those incarcerated for being released with the skills we need. We must also meet the immediate needs of incarcerated patrons. As librarians we must provide the best services to our patrons that cannot physically come into the library. Patrons in segregation cannot be the exception.

When prisoners leave solitary confinement and re-enter society — something that often happens with no transition period — their symptoms might abate, but they’re unable to adjust. “I’ve called this the decimation of life skills,” said Kupers. “It destroys one’s capacity to relate socially, to work, to play, to hold a job or enjoy life.”…

Explaining why isolation is so damaging is complicated, but can be distilled to basic human needs for social interaction and sensory stimulation, along with a lack of the social reinforcement that prevents everyday concerns from snowballing into pychoses, said Kupers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Prison Library, Prisoners, Reblogged

Increased Access to the Law Library: 1 of many demands from the 29,000+ CA inmates on hunger strike

While solitary confinement is the focus of California’s hunger strike by inmates, access to the law library is among other demands:

law library demands

The list of demands can be seen on the LA Times website here. Read about the hunger strike in the LA Times’ article 29,000 California Prison Inmates Refuse Meals in 2nd Day of Protest.

Youth imprisoned at Green Hill prison are joining the hunger strike with their own demands. You can view their full list of demands here. Below are a few library specific demands:

3. EDUCATION: Provide relevant and specialized educational programs to all residents even after they have graduated from High School. These could include cosmetology, music/multimedia production, library access, law training, culinary arts, and more. There are plenty of rooms that are currently not being used for anything but storage. They should be used.

4. LEGAL ACCESS: Access to updated legal material, updated each year. This should include: A well-stocked law library in the school available to all, updated regularly. Books and resources available at anytime. Access to internet sites with relevant legal material available at all times. Access to resources detailing available legal counsel. Copies of JRA/DOC employee policy handbooks in every single wing for residents to read. These must be updated each year.

10. FREEDOM OF SPEECH: The 1st amendment must be respected in JRA/DOC facilities. We have a right to speak our mind and express ourselves with whatever language we choose as long it does not threaten others. We must also be free to organize without punishment.

If you are interested in following the hunger strike, here are two specific blogs to the strike:

http://prisonstrike.wordpress.com/

http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/

Leave a comment

Filed under Prison Library, Prisoners

Library Services at Guantánamo Bay – A Partial View

Originally posted on secrecy {fragments}:

On November 24, 2009, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the DoD concerning library services at the Joint Task Force Detainee Library (JTFDL) at Guantanamo Bay, including the former Camp Iguana.  The DoD forwarded the request to U. S. Southern Command or SOUTHCOM.  The following information was requested from SOUTHCOM:

  • Administrative responsibility for oversight of the libraries
  • Annual reports generated by the DOD and library staff concerning library management, policies, and services
  • Contractors that may provide library management and services
  • DOD regulations governing the management and operation of the Joint Task Force Detainee Library and the  detainee library at Camp Iguana
  • Library access policies
  • Library circulation policies and statistics
  • Library collection development policies
  • Library staff credentials, including the number of staff holding a MLS or MLIS (Masters in Library and Information Science)
  • Library staffing levels
  • Policy and procedure manuals developed by the DOD and…

View original 218 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Prison Library, Reblogged

A Look into a Cambodia’s Prison Library Development Program

Leave a comment

Filed under Prison Library

ALA Annual 2013: Sessions of Interest for Prison Librarians

I am so excited for ALA’s Annual Conference this week! Here are my top sessions to visit to improve my skills as a prison librarian. Following my top choice are other sessions that our profession can learn from.

Connecting Multilingual Patrons with Legal Information: Key Resources

Presenters: Mirenda Watkins, LawHelp Interactive Program Coordinator, ProBono Net & Stacie Colston Patterson, Outreach Coordinator/Attorney at Law, Illinois Legal Aid Online
Date: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Time: 8:30 – 10:00 AM

Location: Palmer House Hilton, Spire Parlor

This workshop focuses on Spanish-language resources for librarians assisting low income and vulnerable patrons facing legal issues. We will highlight:

-LawHelpEspanol.org- a national gateway to websites providing free legal information
-LawHelpInteractive.org- a gateway to pro-se forms assisting self-represented patrons
-CitizenshipWorks.org- a website and companion app assisting individuals understand the naturalization process
-ImmigrationLawHelp.org- a website assisting low-income immigrants find legal help
-Collaborative models between libraries/civil legal services providing Spanish-language legal information/referrals.

-Participants will be able to identify available multilingual sources of legal information to assist patrons facing legal challenges.
-Participants will be able to identify available multilingual sources of legal referral information to assist patrons facing legal challenges.
-Participants will be able to identify key stakeholders and steps in creating their own civil legal services/library partnership.
-Participants will be able to identify additional online legal resources to augment their current collection.
-Participants will be able to access additional online materials concerning Librarians and the Access to Justice Movement.

Library Services for Youth in Custody
Date:  Sunday, June 30, 2013
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 PM
Location: McCormick Place Convention Center

Meeting & Social Gathering for anyone interested in library services to juvenile correctional or detention facilities. This time is for networking, problem-solving, skill-sharing, and general happy-making! You do not need to be a member of Library Services for Youth in Custody, but we would love it if you want to join.

Diversity and Outreach Fair
Date: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Time: 3:00 – 5:30 PM
Location:  McCormick Place Convention Center – Hall A1, Special Events Area

The Fair highlights library services to underserved or underrepresented communities, including people with disabilities; poor and homeless populations; people of color; English-language learners; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people; new Americans, new and non-readers; older adults; people living in rural areas; incarcerated people and ex-offenders; and mobile library services and bookmobiles. The theme of the 2013 Diversity and Outreach Fair is Removing Barriers to Service for All: Creating Meaningful and Integrated Library Experiences for People with Disabilities. One poster that will include on libraries behind bars is Mix IT Up!

Other sessions that may be of interest to the profession are:

Leave a comment

June 25, 2013 · 8:50 pm

Prison Library at Guantánamo – NYTimes.com

Prison Library at Guantánamo – NYTimes.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogged

Shakespeare in Prisons Conference, Nov. 15-16, 2013

Originally posted on Razor Wire Women:

Shakespeare at Notre Dame is pleased to announce the Shakespeare in Prisons Conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame on Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16, 2013.

Featuring keynote addresses and film screenings by Curt Tofteland (founding director of Shakespeare Behind Bars) and Tom Magill (founder of the Educational Shakespeare Center and director of the Irish film Mickey B ), the conference aims to bring together artists and educators engaged in transformational arts programs using Shakespeare in prisons across the USA (and the world) for an exploration and study of the effects such programming has on prison populations. The goal is to promote a collaborative learning forum where participants will be exposed to a diverse array of programs that all strive for a common result: the habilitation of the inmate’s mind, heart, body, and spirit.

Departing from the traditional academic conference structure, the Shakespeare in Prisons conference will focus on the craft and experiences of the…

View original 972 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Conference, Reblogged

Upcoming Webinar – Street Smart: Urban Fiction in Public Libraries

picI am so excited! Vanessa Irvin Morris will be presenting a Public Library Association webinar on Urban Fiction called Street Smart: Urban Fiction in Public Libraries! Register for the May 15, 2013 webinar here.

Participants will leave the webinar with the ability to:

*Understand the evolution of street lit as we know it today

*Articulate the difference between urban fiction and street lit

*Refer to established resources for the purpose of collection development and readers advisory

pic1

During this 1 hour long webinar, Vanessa will be:

highlighting the popular literary genre, street lit, also known as urban fiction. Morris will not only explore the historical context for the genre as well as the characteristics and sub-genres, she’ll also provide concrete ideas for collection development, readers’ advisory and programming.

Vanessa is the author of The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Street Literature, which I highly recommend!

She also has a great website: www.streetliterature.com.

pic2

Leave a comment

Filed under Popular Books, Resources, Urban Fiction

Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, Vol. 5

Originally posted on Razor Wire Women:

 

PCAP_2013_Cover225COPY

Every year for the last five years students at the University of Michigan’s Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) have volunteered to undertake the incredibly unwieldy task of soliciting, receiving, reviewing, and responding to creative writing submissions from hundreds of prisoners throughout the state of Michigan.  Every single person who submits writing receives personalized feedback on his or her work; PCAP sends no form rejection letters.  The result is a remarkable collection of writing called the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, published annually in conjunction with the PCAP Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners.  This year’s review is a particularly good one, and I highly recommend it to those of you might be looking for prisoner writing to teach in your courses next year and to those of you who just want something great to read.

To order this year’s review or one from a previous…

View original 26 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reblogged

National Conference on Higher Education in Prison – Collaboration Beyond Campus: Building Connections Between the Prison and Univesity

Nalini Nadkarni with Sustainability in Prisons Project at Evergreen State College

Nalini created a science lecture series and lab to produce sustainable operations, education, scientific research, and conservation. This includes organic gardens, bee keeping, water catching, composting, recycling, raising butterflies, prairie plant restoration, etc.

This program allows students to develop science skills, collaboration skills, and critical thinking.

She also took views of nature to supermax prisons by creating large installations.

Below is her TED Talk.

George Lombardi with Missouri Department of Corrections

George is the director of MDOC. Prison, he said, is like a small city and has the same operational needs. He reminded us that when bringing interns into the prison that every major has a role in the facility.

He also suggested that staff are offered the same opportunities, for he sees staff struggling with their own education or their children’s education.

George has observed that having colleges and educational programs in MDOC change the environment in a positive way.

He is an advocate for an dog training program to save dogs that face euthanization.  This program connects the city to the prison which makes the community see prisoners as something other than what is on tv. It also shows that the people in this program can give something back to the community. Many of the staff and community members later adopt the trained dogs. Participants in this program keep a journal of their experience that is then transferred to the adoptive parents to be able to know their dog better.

A unique aspect of George’s program policies is that all prisoners have access to programming. He believes that limiting programming based on the length of the sentence does not treat the person.

Jody Lewen with Prison University Project

Jody joins correctional officer organizations and goes to their conventions to incorporate their worldview into their program’s training to better describe officers and how to work well within the prison environment.

She stated that officers are often vilified and demonized by outside volunteers. We need to listen and hear their concerns; provide eye contact, be aware of your body language, say hello, and reach out to staff as individuals and their professional organizations. Have conversations about education in prison with them.

Sean Pica with Hudson Link for Higher Education, Inc. 

I wasn’t able to take notes during Sean’s presentation, but check out their program! You can also watch some videos about their work on their vimeo channel.

1 Comment

Filed under Conference, Programming